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Popularity of rental properties skyrockets in Oxford

Ole Miss students and Oxford landlords are taking it upon themselves to earn money while accommodating fans on home football game weekends.

Texas Longhorn fans were forced to reach deep into their pockets to secure housing in a town where space is already limited for its students and residents. 
 
Oxford had been preparing for a burnt orange invasion since the highly anticipated matchup was announced more than a year ago. With only nine hotels located in the city limits, there were major concerns about how Oxford would accommodate the extra 60,000 people.
 
Many entrepreneurial locals took advantage of the housing demand and abundance of out-of-town income by offering their residences as weekend rentals.  Ole Miss graduate student Stephen Roybal advertised his three-bedroom home on collegeweekends.com.
 
Soon after, he received a $2,000 offer for a two-night stay.
 
“My roommates and I couldn’t believe that people were willing to pay $1,000 per night to stay at our house that wasn’t even within walking distance of the Square or campus,” Roybal said. “Hotels anywhere close to Oxford have been booked since the game was announced, so I guess this was their only option.”
 
Roybal prepared for his renters by cleaning the house and putting fresh linens on the beds, then he packed a bag to stay with his sister. The first-time renter admitted that he was a little wary of the condition that he would find his house in when he returned Sunday after the game, but Roybal was pleasantly surprised by how neat his renters had kept it.
 
“It was almost as if no one had even stayed there,” he said. “I’m really glad that I rented it and will definitely consider renting in the future, just not to any State fans.”
 
As nightly rates for weekend rentals continue to skyrocket, some landlords are including clauses in their leases that require tenants to move out of their homes for popular home football game weekends. This was the case for journalism senior Kayla Tynes when she signed a one-year lease for her large three-bedroom home on North Lamar. “When I signed a lease with my landlord last year, I had to agree to move out of my house for four weekends in the fall,” Tynes said.
 
Tynes must be out of her house by noon on the Thursdays before games and cannot return home until noon on Sundays.
 
“My landlord sends a maid to clean and make preparations for the renters before they come,” she said.
 
“So that’s a plus. I also make a cut of the rent. I’m not allowed to say how much, but it’s enough to keep me happy.”
 
Political science major Camp Pittman rented his four-bedroom home on the Square to Texas alumni for $2,100 from Friday at 6 p.m. to Sunday at noon. Pittman returned to find his house destroyed.
 
“I had a friend walk by the house on Saturday night, and he could see them throwing chairs against the walls inside,” he said.
“The sheetrock was damaged, beer was everywhere and the house was mess. It was definitely not worth it, and I will never rent again.”
 
Oxonians also turned to Craigslist as a way to advertise their homes free of charge. Listings averaged $500-$2,000 per night depending on the home’s proximity to the Square and campus.  
 
Some property owners were more creative with their Craigslist posts, with one listing promising a personal driver for the entire weekend to complement a three-bedroom home near the Oxford airport for $20,000.
 
Another original listing offered a guided tour through Oxford and the Ole Miss campus, a $200 beverage credit and two-night stay for $2,500.
 
Tonya Flesher, professor of accountancy and contributing author to “Concepts in Federal Taxation,” said that the Internal Revenue Service allows individuals to rent their personal residences for less than 15 days without being taxed.
 
“There is no limit on the dollar amount that an individual can collect, only the number of days rented,” Flesher said.
 
Locals could potentially collect $14,000 in income tax-free if they rented their home for $1,000 per night for up to 14 nights.
 
“It’s a great opportunity.”